grey writes "The Age has a story up about how the OpenBSD community has been contacting wireless chipset vendors to license their firmware binaries under terms that would allow for free redistribution. This is important, because even with existing GPL and BSD licensed drivers for these chipsets, the drivers don't function without first loading onerously licensed firmware binaries which can only be acquired from the vendor, not shipped by an OSS provider." (Read more, below.)
grey continues "This means that currently, these wireless NIC's don't work out of the box on OSS install or boot media. In just the first 4 days, hundreds of users wrote and called vendors, and already 2 vendors freed their firmware, and several others are in discussions with Theo de Raadt about taking similar steps.
We need your help! TI has still not responded at all. You can call or write to Bill Carney, - Director of Business Development of TI's WNBU to add to the approximately 400 well written messages the OpenBSD community has already sent to TI. We hope that you'll help, and if you do please keep messages polite and to the point. Please remember, we are not asking for the vendors to open source their firmware under the GPL or BSD licenses (though we wouldn't complain if they did). Instead, ask if they would simply email Theo to open discussions on licensing their firmware binaries under terms that allow for free redistribution. If changed, these firmware binaries would then be able to be included with OSS software and function with existing BSD and GPL licensed device drivers from the start.
You can find other contacts for target vendors here, here, here, and here, and it can't hurt to sign this petition. These changes aide all OSS efforts, not just OpenBSD. As you can see from the OpenBSD community's results already, contacting these vendors really does make a difference. We're sure that with the numbers of OSS minded readers in the Slashdot community you can really help with the heavy lifting where fewer numbers of BSD users have already begun to succeed, and all Open Source Software users will benefit."